Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision.
We are traveling by train, out the windows,
we drink in the passing scenes of children
waving at a crossing,
cattle grazing on a distant hillside,
row upon row of corn and wheat,
flatlands and valleys,
mountains and rolling hillsides
and city skylines.
But uppermost in our minds is the final destination.
On a certain day, we will pull into the station.
Bands will be playing and flags waving.
Once we get there, our dreams will come true
and the pieces of our lives
will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle.
Restlessly we pace the aisles,
damning the minutes – waiting,
waiting, waiting for the station.
“When we reach the station, that will be it!”
We cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450sl Mercedes Benz!”
“When I put the last kid through college.”
“When I have paid off the mortgage!”
“When I get a promotion.” “When I reach retirement,
I shall live happily ever after!”
Sooner or later, we realize there is no station,
no one place to arrive.
The true joy of life is the trip.
The station is only a dream.
It constantly outdistances us.
“Relish the moment” is a good motto.
It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad.
It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow.
Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.
Regret is reality, after the facts.
So stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.
Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream,
go barefoot more often,
swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less.
Life must be lived as we go along.
The STATION will come soon enough.
by Robert J. Hastings
As with every company, there’s turnover. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the brightest individuals in the digital advertising industry; not necessarily past-tense; I still do – those closest to me know who my work squad is, we’ve just lost a lot of remarkable people in the few years I’ve been here. It’s always difficult to say goodbye to people you’ve grown accustom to; especially as of late. With these changes come the end of some relationships and the growth of others. No one can predict which way the pendulum will swing but I think I’m beginning to finally embrace the uncertainty. It’s what adds value to the relationships I do have; these are the ones worthy of my time and efforts.
Through these developments, I’ve been reminded of the following poem by Robert J. Hastings – it’s called The Station. I first read this poem in college; it was a creative writing assignment. The purpose of the assignment was to outline the contextual premise and present it to the class – we then engaged in a discussion of agreements and disagreements. Even now, the premise remains the same, I just think it resonates a bit deeper.
So much of my life has been dependent on certain milestones, or stations. I’ve thought that once I land that job, get that title – I’ll be happy. Once I get married, we’ll be happy. Once we buy a house, we’ll settle down and just be happy. It’s taken quite a bit of time & self-reflecting to understand and accept that what my ex-husband used to damn me with is the absolute truth. I’ll always want more, I’ll never be satisfied. The context of it has just changed… it’s human nature to want more but I’ve learned to value what I have, to appreciate the gestures, to respect the journey in getting to my next station. I believe there’s always room to grow, always something to learn, always room for self-improvement. So he was right, I’ll never be satisfied because there’s always something else to experience; a new destination to reach.
The final destination is finding happiness, true & unwavering happiness but does that actually exist? Ultimately, that’s the premise of the poem. There’s fluidity in seeking happiness. Just as the poem states “Sooner or later, we realize there is no station, no one place to arrive.” We spend so much time wanting something, working for something – we think “Once we get there, our dreams will come true” what we often fail to do is enjoy the moments in-between. It’s such a simple concept, an absolute cliché but there’s truth to it.
Take a minute, inhale deeply and focus on what you do have – in this very moment. You have life, breath it in – enjoy the moment. Kick off your shoes, go to the beach, eat an entire pizza by yourself; sing in the car at the top of your lungs, have a dance party at home. Live in the now.
In no way should you lose track of what you want in life, just remember to take a moment every now and then and remember –
Life must be lived as we go along.